A monument in front of the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City that features the Ten Commandments from the Old Testament of the Judeo-Christian Bible might not be there much longer. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit that “seeks to have the monument removed” because the organization believes it violates constitutional statutes that make it illegal to use government property to promote a particular sect or religion.
“The monument's placement at the Capitol has created a more divisive and hostile state for many Oklahomans," said Ryan Kiesel, ACLU of Oklahoma's executive director. "When the government literally puts one faith on a pedestal, it sends a strong message to Oklahomans of other faiths that they are less than equal."
The ACLU said the monument belongs in a sacred space like a church or synagogue rather than a state capitol.
"We aim to ensure the freedom of future generations of Oklahomans to make their own decisions about faith remains intact and free from political interference,” Kiesel said. "Whether you choose to believe in a god, a creed, a code, or simply to believe in yourself, your choice should be your own, not coerced or influenced by what the government wants you to believe."
The monument was paid for by Republican Rep. Mike Ritze and his family, Raw Story reported. They paid $10,000 to erect it with the approval of the Republican-led state legislature in 2009.
"We must ensure that Oklahoma welcomes people of all faiths and those of no faith at all," said ACLU of Oklahoma legal director Brady Henderson. "Our suit asks the court to enforce a simple and fundamental rule that the government does not get to use its vast power and influence to tell you what you should believe."